CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Mo Rocca, Faith Salie and Roy Blount, Jr. And here again is your host, at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Carl. In just a minute, Carl says, "frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a rhyme," in our Listener Limerick Challenge. If you'd like to play, give us a call at 1-888-Wait-Wait, that's 1-888-924-8924.
Right now, panel, some more questions for you from the week's news. Faith, facing probing questions from reporters, a State Department spokesperson was forced to deny that the United States has any plans to do what?
FAITH SALIE: I need a hint please.
SAGAL: It might be retribution for infecting us with Bieber fever.
SALIE: Export Justin Beiber.
SALIE: Deport him?
SAGAL: No, it would be sort of vengeance.
SALIE: Send him back to Canadia.
SAGAL: The State Department denied that the US is planning to do something else to Canada.
SAGAL: Yes, invade it.
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SALIE: Oh my gosh.
SAGAL: A State Department official was briefing reporters on a new agreement signed by the US and Mexico, and a reporter asked if the agreement included any plans for a joint invasion of Canada.
SAGAL: And the spokeswoman replied, quote, "Who told you?"
SAGAL: Actually, no, she said, quote, "No, no, no, it's not anything classified," unquote. Note that she didn't say, "No, we're not invading Canada."
SAGAL: Nor did she say anything about the new camouflage uniforms given to the 101st Airborne. They're plaid flannel shirts and Dockers.
ROY BLOUNT JR: Well, this is a time, we ought to go ahead and do it now before it gets cold, I'll tell you that.
SAGAL: That's true.
SAGAL: Mo, it was 30 years ago this week that what was invented by a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon?
MO ROCCA: Oh, so something was invented by a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon. It's not something about Apple. It's not the internet.
SAGAL: Something that's made all kinds of emails and texts much more evocative.
ROCCA: Oh, the emoticon.
SAGAL: The emoticon was invented 30 years ago this week, very good.
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SAGAL: It was such an important day in the annals of human communication. Without it, whole generations of teenagers would have had to learn how to write in words.
SAGAL: On September 19th, 1982, Professor Scott Fahlman of Carnegie Mellon put up a post on a computer bulletin board, suggesting a colon, a dash and a closed parenthesis - which looks like a smiling face, if you look at it sideways - as the official indicator of humor in online communication. Do you guys use emoticons?
SALIE: It's usually - you know, there are two camps, right?
SALIE: There's the LOLs who do the same thing, it's LOL or emoticons. I have to say that I have - it took about three months to adjust to the fact that my - he's my husband now but when we were dating he used emoticons. And it was tough. I mean I am a feminist, but I felt it was very unmanly. I don't like gender stereotypes.
SALIE: But it made me feel uncomfortable.
ROCCA: No, but I do a Teddy Roosevelt roughrider emoticon. So, that's very manly.
ROCCA: It's an eight and then it's - OK, so it's an eight and it's followed by not the bracket, what's the swishy bracket one?
SALIE: Is that the mustache?
ROCCA: Yes, that's the mustache and then you do a zero for the mouth. I'm telling you, it looks like T. R.
SAGAL: OK, but what emotion or state of mind are you using little Teddy Roosevelt to indicate?
ROCCA: To speak softly and to carry a big stick.
SAGAL: Roy, researchers in Britain have determined, through science that one of the most embarrassing things in the world is what?
JR: Falling down stairs. That's my main one really.
SAGAL: I'll give you a hint.
JR: Falling down several flights of stairs.
SAGAL: Well, wait a minute.
JR: No, come on.
SAGAL: That's more painful than embarrassing isn't it?
JR: Well, it depends on why you fell down the...
SALIE: If you're wearing heels, in your case, it's embarrassing.
JR: Can you give this one to Faith? I don't want to go into my...
SAGAL: Well, wait a minute, do you need a hint, dad, I mean Roy?
JR: Fathers are the most embarrassing thing.
SAGAL: That's true, but no.
JR: You said dad?
SAGAL: I did.
JR: You made a sort of Freudian slip.
JR: Dad? I mean this is very confusing and disturbing frankly.
ROCCA: Oh, calling...
SALIE: Calling someone...
ROCCA: Calling somebody...
JR: By the wrong name.
ROCCA: ...like by the wrong name.
SAGAL: Well, specifically calling somebody mom or dad.
ROCCA: Somebody mom or dad, yeah.
SAGAL: You have not called your spouse mom or dad by accident, then you have not been married.
SALIE: Are you kidding?
ROCCA: Gosh, it happens? Wow.
SAGAL: Yeah. Well I mean...
SALIE: Do you stay married after you do that?
ROCCA: No, you poke your eyes out, right?
SAGAL: I believe so. According to a recent British study, there are at least 50 ways, including that one, humans embarrass themselves every day, from thinking someone's waving at you when they're not.
SAGAL: To accidentally liking something on Facebook to whatever Joe Biden is doing right this second.
SAGAL: Here are some other things from the list. Forgetting someone's name when introducing them.
SALIE: Yeah, that's bad.
SAGAL: Tripping over in public.
SALIE: Always funny.
JR: I told you.
SAGAL: Getting someone's name wrong. Not being noticed by someone you're waving at.
ROCCA: That's true.
SAGAL: You know what's funny? The same thing that works with fortune cookies works with these, they're all worse, or they still work when you add "in bed."
SAGAL: So, like, not being noticed by someone you're waving at in bed.
SALIE: Waving at in bed.
SAGAL: Forgetting where you parked, in bed.
SALIE: Calling someone dad in bed.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.